Sands as white as marble are gently brushed by sapphire waves. You are startled out of your reverie by a distant chorus of tropical birdsongs. You wonder how you could be standing hundreds of miles from the coast of Africa as you look into the amber sunset.
Introduction to lake Victoria.
Nestled between Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania is the largest lake in Africa. 45% of Lake Victoria’s 68,800 km2 surface area is located in Uganda, and its waters are essential to the well-being of millions of East Africans.
The lake was a part of local lore long before explorer John Hanning Speke discovered it in 1858 and gave it the name Queen Victoria. The assertion made by Speke that the Nile originates in Lake Victoria sparked outrage in the scientific world and heated debate.
Any vacation in Uganda would not be complete without visiting Lake Victoria because of its animals, archipelagos, and sheer size.
Numerous species of fauna are supported by Lake Victoria. The hippopotamus, the marsh mongoose, and the giant otter shrew are just a few of the many mammal species that call the area around Lake Victoria home.
In addition, it is home to numerous crustaceans, including four different species of freshwater crab, as well as reptiles like the African helmeted turtle and the Nile crocodile.
The haplochromine cichlid is the dominant endemic group of the more than 200 species of fish found in Lake Victoria. However, a lot of species have gone extinct in the previous 50 years, and scientists think that the native fish species in Lake Victoria have declined by 80%.
Numerous invasive species, notably the infamous Nile perch, reside in Lake Victoria. To enhance Lake Victoria’s fishery, the colonial authorities imported the rapacious Nile perch in 1954 upstream of Murchison Falls.
The Nile perch has interfered with the ecosystem’s natural balance in Lake Victoria for several decades.
Algae grew quickly due to a sharp decline in the amount of fish that consumed it. As a result, more debris dropped into the lake’s deeper areas before it decomposed, lowering oxygen levels there and driving fish into the shallower areas.
Lake Victoria’s future is in jeopardy due to water pollution, overfishing, and an invasion of water hyacinth.
Unsustainable activities in the catchment are a serious hazard as well. According to scientists, the catchment’s forest cover has already lost more than 70% of its original amount.
Things to do at Lake Victoria
Swimming on Lake Victoria.
Only some locations of Lake Victoria are safe for swimming, yet some locals and visitors opt to do so at their own risk. An estimated 5,000 people every year, according to local authorities, pass away on Lake Victoria, and regrettably, drowning is a leading cause of death.
Additionally, there is a chance of acquiring bilharzia (schistosomiasis), a tropical illness brought on by parasitic flatworms.
Ngamba Island Chimp Sanctuary.
Ngamba Island, one of Lake Victoria’s most well-known islands, lies about 27 kilometers south-east of Entebbe. 50 orphaned chimpanzees who have been rescued around East Africa are cared for by Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary.
The Chimpanzee Trust, an NGO that works to sustainably safeguard chimpanzees and provide captive care for those that cannot thrive in the wild, runs the refuge.
The sanctuary offers half-day and full-day excursions, and chimp lovers can even stay the night at Ngamba Ecolodge.
In the northwest of Lake Victoria lie the Ssese Islands, a hidden paradise with white sand beaches and turquoise waters. For travelers seeking to unwind in a distant haven, this distinctive archipelago of 84 islands is unmistakable.
The most developed of the Ssese Islands is Bugala Island, which is easily reachable via ferry from Entebbe. At Bugala, you may engage in a variety of activities, including quad biking, fishing, and birding.
This marsh, which is Uganda’s most significant birding destination, is situated on Lake Victoria’s northern shore. Over 300 different bird species can be seen in Mabamba, including the mysterious Shoebill.
The experience of birding at Mabamba is wonderful. A local guide will teach you about the area’s ecology and the finest places to take pictures as they maneuver you through the network of channels in a traditional canoe.
Early in the morning is when you have the best chances of viewing the Shoebill, but you can also count on seeing other amazing species like the African marsh harrier.
Uganda wildlife Education center.
Animals that are unable to thrive in the wild can find safety in Entebbe Zoo, an animal orphanage. This excursion is perfect for any animal lover and is located on the shore of Lake Victoria.
The zoo is a terrific place to learn more about a variety of animal species, whether you observe chimps swinging through the trees or lions guarding their territory.
We suggest taking the “behind the scenes” tour, which gives you an understanding of how the center takes care of its animals. Animal lovers can get even closer to the lions and elephants on the excursion.
Where to stay at lake Victoria
Lake Victoria Hotel (Entebbe).
Lake Victoria Hotel is a well-liked starting point for travelers because it is only 13 minutes from Lake Victoria’s shore. In addition to afternoon tea, the restaurant serves delectable African and continental cuisine.
The hotel has a number of first-rate amenities, such as a spa, gym, and outdoor pool. After spending the day touring Lake Victoria, the sun terrace is the ideal location to unwind.
In addition, there is a complimentary airport shuttle service to the nearby (3.1 km) Entebbe International Airport.
Protea Hotel Entebbe.
Protea Hotel Entebbe is a luxurious 4-star resort hotel with excellent access to Lake Victoria that is situated close to Entebbe International Airport.
Its restaurant has a delectable à la carte cuisine, and customers love its daily specials. They frequently consist of tilapia and nile perch.
After a day of adventures at the lake, a trip to the Tides Spa is a great way to relax.
Mirembe Resort Beach Hotel. ( Bugala Island.)
The Mirembe Resort Beach Hotel is situated close to Kalangala on the shore of Bugala Island. The phrase “Mirembe,” which refers to the resort, is taken from the Luganda word for “peace,” and the lodging is made to blend in with the breathtaking surroundings.
There are several different lodging alternatives in Mirembe, including luxurious rooms, cottages, block houses, and tents.
The Mukusu Restaurant delivers a fusion of African and continental cuisine that is made with fresh, regional ingredients and features a genuine African grass thatched roof.
Getting There & When is the best Time To visit Lake Victoria
When is the best time to visit lake Victoria?
The peak season, from June to October, is the ideal time to go birdwatching, fishing, and bicycling at Lake Victoria.
A wider diversity of birds congregate in Lake Victoria during the dry season because there are fewer water sources inland. During these months, paths and bicycle trails will be drier and safer.
But there are other great times to explore Lake Victoria during the prolonged rainy season from March to May. You can see as new flowers, grasses, and bird chicks revitalize Lake Victoria if you are unconcerned by downpours and rougher seas.